- Cluster of long, rigid leaves ending in a sharp point
- Leaf edges have fine saw-toothing
- Flower spike is about 10-15 feet high, made up of hundreds of tiny bell-shaped flowers
- Flowers are purple or white
- Monterey, California to northern Baja California, Mexico
- Chaparral, coastal sage scrub, oak woodlands
- Grows in sand and clay soils
- Elevations of 985 to 8000 feet
- Like all plants, it gets its energy from the sun
- Exclusively pollinated by the California yucca moth. The symbiotic relationship allows the plants to be pollinated and the yucca moth’s larvae to have food.
- California thrashers, deer, rats, and other birds eat the plant
- Kumeyaay Native Americans used the Chaparral yucca for food and as fiber for cloth, sandals, and rope.
- Also called foothill yucca, Spanish bayonet, and Our Lord’s Candle because of its flower
- The yucca takes 5-10 years to mature, then grows the 10-foot tall flower spike in only two weeks!
- After pollination, flower dies but will stay upright for many years afterwards
Sources: California Native Plant Society; Writing For Nature
Photo: Beth Besom
See the Chaparral yucca and other native plants in the Native Plant Garden at Living Coast Discovery Center!